Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Another Good Article for RT Profs (& Other RTs)

"Make Your Teaching and Your Life More Enjoyable" is a Teaching Tips article that appeared in the June, 2006, issue of the Association for Psychological Science's Observer (Vol. 10, No. 6). While written for professors, the article contains a number of ideas that all RTs can use to avoid burnout.

The first step suggested is to Try a New Approach to Your Teaching. But for RTs this step could easily be titled "Try a New Approach to Your Interventions." The first tip under this step is to "Include something in each class period that is fun for you and your students." One way I've done this is to use cartoons but the main thing is to do something enjoyable. You can see how this applies to doing RT groups.

The second tip is to "Experience life as a student." Attending lectures or presentations on a topic you know very little about and taking notes is an illustration. Another idea is to write a paper you have assigned to your students. The authors suggest that as a result you may use the board more, speak more slowly, or reemphasize major points. Again, RTs can translate this into doing sessions with clients -- for example, sitting in on another therapist's group. Much of what RTs do is teaching clients new ways to act, think, or feel so teaching concepts can be easily applied with RT groups.

The article goes on to explain other teaching approaches such as rearranging the teaching schedule, changing assignments, and changing the mode of delivery. I'll save these new approaches to teaching for another post. I'll also save other suggested steps to making your teaching and life more enjoyable including: taking advantage of opportunities; taking better care of yourself; spending more time with people; improving your work environment; and minimizing negative experiences. If you don't want to wait for my posts, you may want to go to the Observer article.


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